The Supreme Court’s decision overturning a gun-permitting law in New York has states with robust firearms restrictions scrambling to respond on two fronts — to figure out what concealed-carry measures they might be allowed to impose while also preparing to defend a wide range of other gun control policies.
The language in the court’s majority opinion heightened concern that other state laws, from setting an age limit on gun purchases to banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, may now be in jeopardy.
“The court has basically invited open season on our gun laws, and so I expect litigation across the board,” said New Jersey acting Attorney General Matt Platkin, a Democrat. “We’re going to defend our gun laws tooth-and-nail because these gun laws save lives.”
The court ruling issued Thursday specifically overturned a New York law that had been in place since 1913 and required that people applying for a concealed carry permit demonstrate a specific need to have a gun in public, such as showing an imminent threat to their safety. The court’s conservative majority said that violated the Second Amendment, which they interpreted as protecting people’s right to carry a gun for self-defense outside the home.
While the ruling does not address any other laws, the majority opinion opens the door for gun rights advocates to challenge them in the future, said Alex McCourt, the director of legal research for the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions.
Pro-firearms groups in several states said they plan to do just that.
Attorney Chuck Michel, president of the California Rifle and Pistol Association, said the group is preparing to expand its legal challenges based on the high court changing the legal standard used to assess whether gun control laws are constitutional.
Courts must now consider only whether a gun control regulation is consistent with the Second Amendment’s actual text and its historical understanding, according to Thursday’s ruling. Before that, judges also could consider a state’s social justification for passing a gun control law.
Michel said the standard will affect three prominent California laws. Legal challenges to the state’s limits on assault weapons, its requirement for background checks for buying ammunition and its ban on online ammunition sales are pending before a federal appellate court.
A court in Pakistan’s capital has ordered an investigation into the controversial arrest of a former human rights minister over a decades-old land dispute.
Chief Justice Ather Minallah of the Islamabad High Court late Saturday ordered the probe in response to a petition from the daughter of former minister Shireen Mazari.
Minallah questioned the decision by officials in Islamabad to allow police from a Punjab provincial district to make the arrest in the capital.
Mazari, who served in the Cabinet-level position under former Prime Minister Imran Khan, had been detained by police near her Islamabad home earlier in the day.
Fawad Chaudhry, former information minister in Khan’s administration, alleged that Mazari — the senior leader in Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party — had been politically targeted by the new administration of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif under the guise of a land dispute dating back to 1972.
Hours after Mazari’s arrest, Chief Minister of Punjab province Hamza Shahbaz ordered her release and late Saturday she was brought to the Islamabad court for an urgent hearing. She was then released.
Mazari has been critical of Sharif’s government on Twitter since Khan’s government was toppled in a no-confidence vote in Parliament last month. Khan’s party lawmakers resigned from the body’s lower house in protest and Khan is mobilizing supporters through public rallies across the country to pressure the government into an early election.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt is asking a Wyandotte County judge to dismiss two lawsuits filed over new Kansas congressional district lines enacted by Republican lawmakers.
Schmidt’s request Monday came three days after the Kansas Supreme Court refused to dismiss the lawsuits and another in Douglas County at the Republican attorney general’s request.
Democrats and the voting-rights group Loud Light argue that the congressional redistricting law enacted over Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto represents partisan and racial gerrymandering. They say it violates the Kansas Constitution. They’re suing Secretary of State Scott Schwab and county election officials because they would administer the new law.
The map makes it harder for the only Kansas Democrat in Congress, Rep. Sharice Davids, to get reelected in her Kansas City-area district.
Schmidt and fellow Republicans argue that the new map isn’t gerrymandering and even if it were, state courts have no power under the Kansas Constitution to rule on congressional districts.
Gangs inside a Mississippi jail often determine whether other inmates receive meals, a court-appointed monitor testified in a federal court hearing.
Elizabeth Simpson testified Tuesday that staffing shortages are so severe at Hinds County’s Raymond Detention Center that gangs and “inmate committees” control certain aspects of life, including whether some inmates get to eat, WLBT-TV reported.
A former administrator of the jail, Maj. Kathryn Bryan, learned staff would put food on carts to take to the jail’s housing units and would let the inmates distribute it, Simpson said. In two cases this January, detainees in a mental health unit were suffering severe weight loss as a result, Simpson said.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves issued a civil contempt order Feb. 4, saying officials in Mississippi’s largest county have failed to fix problems at the jail. He started holding hearings last week to determine whether to order a receivership in which the federal government would take over operation of the jail, with Hinds County paying the tab.
Simpson testified Tuesday that inmate committees determined whether certain detainees could remain in housing units known as pods.